Jake White still harbours hope of coaching the Wallabies despite being overlooked in favour of Ewen McKenzie last year.
“I just wouldn’t send my CV in again. I’d have to get tapped on the shoulder this time,” White said on Thursday.
South Africa’s 2007 World Cup-winning mentor is back in Australia for the first time since walking out on the Brumbies last September midway through a four-year coaching contract with the ACT Super Rugby franchise.
Seven months on, White was making no secret that losing out to McKenzie still hurt, especially after believing he had the job as Robbie Deans’ successor in the bag, and that not being appointed Wallabies coach was the reason he left the Brumbies.
“I’m the first to admit when I arrived here under John O’Neill as the incumbent (Australian Rugby Union) CEO the landscape was different,” he said.
“There were opportunities in Australia for foreign coaches to ply their trade and coach internationally – Mickey Arthur at cricket, Robbie Deans at rugby.
“That landscape changed in the two years that I was here – no-one’s fault – and that means that you’ve got to reboot and rethink about where you want to be as a coach.
“I’ve thought about it long and hard. I would love the Wallabies job.
“I’ve said it many times to many journalists while I was here: I’d love to coach internationally again and the mere fact that it wasn’t an opportunity and another opportunity presented itself – rightly or wrongly, selfishly, whichever way you look at it – I just decided it was time for me to be back closer to my family, my network, based on the fact that the landscape had significantly changed.
“I don’t blame anybody. It’s the way sport works.”
Now committed to the Sharks until the end of the 2015 Super Rugby season, White said there was “no chance” he’d be coaching at next year’s World Cup in Britain.
But the 51-year-old retains a strong desire to coach at the highest level again.
“I would like to coach internationally again and I wasn’t aware that if I left I could still never coach Australia,” he said.
“I mean, I’m a young guy and there’s a lot more international rugby and anyone who has coached at that level always looks for that opportunity.”